The nationwide “surge” of coronavirus cases is being felt in La Paz County. In the same week the United States recorded 1.6 million new cases to top 18 million, La Paz County saw 88 new cases reported between Dec. 12 and Dec. 19, to bring the county’s total up to 1,159. The number of new cases was lower than the 102 reported between Dec. 5 and Dec. 12.
There were also three more deaths recorded to bring the county’s total to 24.
The county’s total include 472 members of the Colorado River Indian Tribes who were tested at Indian Health Services. That’s 31 additional cases since Dec. 12, which is lower than the previous week’s increase of 41. A total of eight Tribal members have died.
La Paz County did not see its first coronavirus case until March 25. La Paz was the 13th county in the state to report cases of the virus. Three months ago, at the start of September, there were 525 cases. At the start of October, there were 548 cases. The number of cases has more than doubled in just two-and-a-half months.
While the number of cases is increasing locally, the fact is they are increasing all across the state and the nation.
“They have gone up dramatically everywhere,” said Diana Grazier, Director of Nursing for the La Paz County Health Department.
“We are seeing an uptake in cases, just like every other Arizona county,” said Jamie Enriquez of the La Paz Health Department. She said they’ve been very busy with contact tracing and investigating cases. She added they’ve been able to keep up by training new investigators and contact monitors.
Enriquez said La Paz Regional Hospital is usually at full capacity in the winter months, but they do have a plan for surge capacity.
As for why there is such an increase in cases now, Grazier said the time of year has a lot to do with it.
“In colder weather, people stay mostly indoors,” she said. “That is why flu spreads so much during the winter. Lots of extended families are still congregating with each other.”
Statewide, the Arizona Department of Health Services reports 448,231 cases as of Dec. 19. That’s an increase of more than 45,000 since Dec. 12, an average of more than 6,500 per day. There were 7,937 deaths as of Dec. 19, as compared with 7,322 on Dec. 12. That’s an average of almost 90 per day.
To get a better idea of how much the numbers have increased, between Oct. 18 and Oct. 24, there were 7,286 new cases. In the week before that, Oct. 12 through Oct. 18, there had been 3,400 new cases.
Of the cases in Arizona, over 374,000 were active while 73,069 have reached some conclusion and have been closed. A total of 66,132 have recovered. This comes out to a recovery rate of 91 percent. This is the first time Arizona has topped a recovery rate of 90 percent.
Nationwide, the Worldometers website reported 18 million cases in the United States, as well as 323,401 deaths. That’s 1.6 million more cases than there were Dec. 12, an average of almost 230,000 new cases per day.
On Oct. 4, there had been 7.64 million cases nationwide. Over 10 million cases have been added in the last two-and-a-half months.
Worldometers reports there were 7.2 million active cases in the United States as of Dec. 19. Of the cases that have reached a conclusion and have been closed, 10.5 million have recovered for a recovery rate of 97 percent.
Worldwide, there have been 76 million cases and almost 1.7 million deaths. Over 53.7 million have recovered for a recovery rate of 97 percent.
As for what people can do, Enriquez said people need to stay home when they’re sick, even with mild symptoms. Testing for the virus is available from La Paz Regional Hospital and the Regional Center for Border Health, Inc.
“Don’t go to work, don’t go to school, and don’t send kids to childcare unless tested first,” she said. “If tested, stay home until the results are received.”
The Colorado River Indian Tribes are reminding all residents of the reservation of the Tribal Council’s Safer at Home Resolution as well as the mandatory face mask requirement.
“Everyone is also reminded to limit contact with anyone who is not a member of your immediate household,” the Tribes said in a statement on the Manataba Messenger Facebook page. They then tell Tribal members, “If you have any symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath, cough, sore throat, headache, body aches, chills, repeating shaking with chills, and new loss of taste or smell please contact the Parker Indian Health Center or your primary physician.”